Action Alerts from Housing Oregon - Affordable housing funding


Tim McCormick
 

please take a minute to contact your state legislators about any of these bills - it's the final 12 days of session.

Tip: if you don't know your state Senator and Representative or their contact info, you can look that up easily here:  
Copy it down and keep handy to contact them in future.

Also, consider getting on the mailing lists that most of them have, to find out about local Town Halls and what they are working on. Go to a Town Hall (online or in person), introduce yourself to the official and/or their chief of staff or housing advisor who'll likely be there, tell them briefly what you're most interested in and why, and any group(s) you advocate with (could be PDX Shelter Forum, eg). This probably helps later letters or testimony from you or your orgs have impact on them. It's a bit like Sales, you usually need many touch points, so to speak.
-Tim. 

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Housing Oregon <housingoregon@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 18, 2021 at 11:34 AM
Subject: Action Alert - Affordable housing funding measures
To: Tim McCormick <housingoregon.org@...>



Final Weeks of Oregon Legislative Session

Contact your legislators on racial justice,  development, preservation, and homeless services funding bills

Now is the time to send a last message(s) to your State legislators to remind them how critical funding is needed for affordable housing, emergency shelters, and homeownership as the effects of the COVID pandemic continue to disproportionately affect low-income and Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities across Oregon. 

Reach out to your Representative and Senator to ask for their support on one or several of the bills listed below. If you have more time, consider reaching out to members of one of the Joint Committees considering these bills.

Housing Oregon is a member of the Oregon Housing Alliance. Check out our legislative agenda priorities and endorsements. Thanks to the Housing Alliance for legislation descriptions.

How to contact your Legislators

Racial Justice bills

Contact your Senator for HB 2007.  Contact your Representative and Senator for SB 291.


Sample messaging

Dear (Legislator):

I am writing to you today to express my support for (Pick a bill: SB 291 and/or HB 2007.)  (You can add some details about yourself or organization here.)

SB 291

The disparate impacts of the criminal justice system experienced by communities of color has significant, and negative consequences. An arrest or criminal record can have lifelong impacts on a person’s ability to access housing.

I support SB 291. Individualized assessments will give people who have a criminal history a chance at safe and stable housing.

HB 2007 (Already passed House. Contact Senators.)

Due to systemic racism, red lining, disparities in wealth and wages, people of color are less likely to own their home than their white peers. Homeownership is one of the best strategies to help families build intergenerational wealth, while providing a stable home.

I support HB 2007 so the Joint Task Force to Address Racial Disparities in Homeownership can continue to identify strategies which could reduce disparities.

Thank you.

Name

HB 2007 - Addressing Racial Disparities in Homeownership

Due to systemic racism, red lining, disparities in wealth and wages, people of color are less likely to own their home than their white peers. In Oregon, approximately 35% of Black people own their homes, compared to 65% of White people in Oregon. Homeownership is one of the best strategies to help families build intergenerational wealth, while providing a stable home. Strategies are needed to increase homeownership for BIPOC communities.

Initiated in 2018, the workgroup developed a set of recommendations  addressing bias training for real estate professionals, investment in down payment assistance, and investment in individual development accounts (IDAs) to support access to homeownership.

This bill just passed in the House and is going to the Senate.  Contact your Senator.

SB 291 - Individualized Assessment

People who rent their homes who have previous contact with the criminal justice system face additional barriers when trying to secure a new apartment. A landlord may discard their application automatically upon learning of a previous arrest or conviction, without considering the circumstances. Current federal law requires each tenant to be screened individually and assess their circumstances.

This proposal will require an individualized assessment by a landlord, and would prohibit landlords from screening people out for an arrest with no conviction, or previous criminal history for situations that are no longer illegal in Oregon.

Passed by the House Committee on Rules.  Contact your Representative and Senator.

Development, Preservation and Homeless Services bills

Bills before the Joint Committee on Ways and Means and/or Subcommittee on Capital Construction.

Sample Messaging

Dear (Legislator):

I am writing to you today to ask for your support for (Bill number), which (purpose).

Add some details about your organization here – name, geographic area served, mission, etc.

How would you use funding item you listed above? How could it help you? Share an example of how this resource could be important to your work.

This bill is in Ways & Means, and I am asking you today to advocate for and support this proposal.

Thank you,

Name

New Rental and Homeownership Development

SB 5505  - Local Innovation and Fast Track, or LIFT

Additional resources to develop regulated affordable housing are needed, including rental and homeownership opportunities. Since 2015, developers have successfully utilized general obligation bonds to build affordable housing through the Local Innovation and Fast Track, or LIFT Housing program. The Legislature should commit $250 million or more in general obligation bonds for this program.

This bill is before the Subcommittee on Capital Construction of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.

SB 5505  - Permanent Supportive Housing

We need to advocate to ensure that rent and services dollars for newly constructed projects approved in 2019 ($50 million in Article XI-Q      general obligation bonds) remain available to build permanent supportive housing across Oregon. The Legislature should commit $50 million or more plus rent and services funding in 2021-23.

This bill is before the Subcommittee on Capital Construction of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.

Preservation and healthy homes

SB 5534 - Preserve and Maintain existing affordable housing

We need to maintain our supply of existing affordable housing, and reinvestment is needed to maintain safe, stable, and affordable homes. These funds are needed to help to maintain all regulated, multifamily affordable housing, as well as public housing and manufactured home parks. The Legislature should commit $100 million in Lottery Bonds to maintain existing affordable housing across Oregon.

This bill is before the Subcommittee on Capital Construction of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.

HB 2842 - Healthy Homes

Across Oregon, too many of our neighbors live in homes that may have fallen in disrepair or need small investments to improve their health and safety.  These investments help maintain stability, improve their health outcomes, and protect the housing stock in our communities for the next generation.

This proposal will create a Healthy Homes Program and Healthy Homes Repair Fund within the Oregon Health Authority, which will distribute grants to local governments, housing authorities, non-profit organizations, and Tribes to assist low income households with home repairs and retrofits. The proposal would also allow repairs of rental homes.

This bill is before the full Joint Committee on Ways and Means.

Homelessness services

HB 5011 - Prevent and End Homelessness (EHA/SHAP)

Across Oregon, we have an effective statewide system to distribute emergency rent assistance, rapid re-housing resources, and emergency shelter support through the Emergency Housing Account (EHA) and the State Homelessness Assistance Program (SHAP). Significant resources are needed to meet the needs of people experiencing housing instability. The Legislature should commit $50 million to support ongoing funding for these critical programs.

This bill is before the full Joint Committee on Ways and Means.

HB 2544 - Supporting runaway and homeless youth

Oregon has one of the highest rates of youth homelessness, including youth in the K-12 system, youth exiting the foster care system, and unaccompanied youth. The Legislature should invest resources in expanding an existing host home network, which provides a home for unaccompanied homeless youth while they finish high school; and expand existing shelter, mental health, transitional housing, and other services for Runaway and Homeless Youth.

This bill is before the Subcommittee on Capital Construction of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.

HB 2163 - Long Term Rent Assistance Pilot for Former Foster Youth

In Oregon, three out of four households with extremely low incomes pay over half of their income towards rent. Today, half of youth who experience homelessness become adults who are chronically homeless, meaning they have years of homelessness coupled with disabling conditions.

This pilot proposal would provide $4.5 million to support youth who are no longer able to receive support through the foster care system with rent assistance. It seeks to provide stability and support to youth as they transition from childhood to adulthood so they can have access to the same education and training opportunities just like their counterparts who are housed and living with family.

This bill is before the full Joint Committee on Ways and Means.

Tax Credit and Property Tax Exemption bills

Sample Messaging

What to say to your Representative and Senator about your tax credit priorities:

Dear (Legislator):

I am writing to you today to express my support for (Pick one: HB 2584: the expansion of the Oregon Affordable Housing Tax Credit; HB 2096: The expansion of the Agricultural Workforce Housing Tax Credit; HB 3364: A credit to help preserve existing affordable housing).

Add some details about your organization here – name, geographic area served, mission, etc.

How would you use the tax credit you listed above? How has it helped you? Share at least one example of a development you’ve built with the credit, and why it was critical to building that development.

If you’re planning to build a new development with the tax credit, please share that here. If you have land already built, and project plans, share two sentences about that – who will the project serve, how many units will it have, who is the target population.

This credit is critical to expanding housing opportunity in Oregon. I urge your support.

Thank you,

Name

HB 2584 - Oregon Affordable Housing Tax Credit

The Oregon Affordable Housing Tax Credit or OAHTC helps fund development and preservation of affordable housing. The Legislature should increase the cap to $35 million (currently $25 million) to develop and preserve more homes for people with low incomes. There are two proposed technical changes: first, to allow USDA Rural Development projects to take the credit over a 30-year period, not a 20-year period; and second, to allow more flexibility with rent assistance contracts to include local and state rent assistance to be included in the definition of rent assistance.

This bill is before the Joint Committee on Tax Expenditures.

HB 2096 and HB 2433 (omnibus bill) - Agricultural Workforce Housing Tax Credit Expansion

Agricultural workers and their families are in need of safe and affordable homes to live in, either temporarily during harvest or permanently. Many agricultural workers live in substandard or overcrowded housing, while working hard to put food on the table for Oregon families. Oregon Housing and Community Services is seeking to increase the cap for the Agricultural Workforce Housing Tax Credit. The credit is used to develop housing for agricultural workers both on farms and in the community. The current program is capped at $15 million per biennium, and the Governor’s Budget proposes to expand this to $24 million.

The HB 2433 omnibus bill passed in the House and is going to the Senate.  Contact your Senator.

HB 3364 - Preservation Tax Credit

Across Oregon, we need to maintain our supply of existing affordable housing, and reinvestment is needed to maintain safe, stable, and affordable homes. These funds are needed to help to maintain all regulated, multifamily affordable housing, as well as public housing and manufactured home parks. Additional tools are needed to maintain this housing. This proposal would create a tax credit to incentivize the sale of a building that meets the definition of publicly supported affordable housing (ORS 456.250) to a non-profit or a public housing authority, in order to maintain the housing as affordable.

This bill is before the Joint Committee on Tax Expenditures.

HB 2456 - Property Tax Exemption, Updates for affordable housing

Over the years, the Legislature has authorized several local option property tax exemptions for affordable housing, including ORS 307.515 and ORS 307.540. Local option property tax exemptions are one tool local jurisdictions can use to help incentivize and make affordable housing developments financially viable in their communities. Recently, the federal government made a critical change that will allow for more people of different income levels to be served by affordable housing. The Legislature should update the local option property tax exemptions to align with this new criteria.

This bill passed the House and referred to Senate Committee on Finance and Revenue Contact your Senator.

Questions? Need info?

Brian Hoop, Housing Oregon, 503-475-6056, brian@...

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Tim McCormick
Moderator PDX Shelter Forum, Editor at HousingWiki,
Organizer at Village Collaborative
Portland, Oregon 

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